As of 6 December 2018, law firms are required to publish information about certain price, service and regulatory matters.
Who needs to publish information?
An authorised firm or a sole practitioner must publish cost information on its website (or it must be available by request if there is no website). The requirement arises whenever a firm publishes that certain services are available (see below).
What is cost information?
Put simply it is the price of services.
Why is this being done?
The requirement is to ensure there is transparency and that a potential client can obtain information on cost without a formal appointment.
Does it cover all fees?
Only cost information on certain services needs to be provided. For individual clients, these are:
- Residential conveyancing
- Administration of an estate
- Immigration (excluding asylum appeals)
- Motoring offences (cases dealt with in a single hearing at the Magistrates Court)
- Employment tribunal (advice and representation to employees for claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal)
For businesses, the services requiring cost information are:
- Employment tribunal
- Debt recovery
- Licensing applications
The information must not be misleading or inaccurate; additional charges must be clearly expressed, as should the inclusion or otherwise of VAT. The information must be in a prominent place on the website and be clear and accessible.
Is there anything else that has to be said?
The experience and qualifications of anyone carrying out the work have to be stated, in a general way, this does not mean that individuals have to be named. For each heading of work listed above certain information has to be provided, particular to the area of law.
Firms also need to make sure the detail of its complaints procedure is published along with their regulatory information. This would include the Solicitors Regulatory Authority number and (from next year) the SRA digital badge.